Ohio Panel Suggests Changes in System for Bail Release

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CLEVELAND (AP) – A state panel is recommending changes to Ohio court practices that keep defendants in jail because they can’t afford bail.

A special committee of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission wants the state to create a system that determines release based on a defendant’s likelihood of committing new crimes or skipping hearings.

The commission says release shouldn’t depend on defendants’ ability to pay for their freedom.

The committee plans to present its recommendations to the Sentencing Commission on Thursday. The commission is expected to vote on the proposal in June.

A committee report says the reality is defendants with money can buy their freedom regardless of any danger they present to the community. The report says poor defendants, meanwhile, remain in jail before trial.